Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year...and what a year

Well I am not one for these end of the year type articles but since I am around and have been blogging fervently lets take a look back at what went down.

Blunt Force Gamer did not just spring up overnight. This blog is the demon child of two blogs spliced together when the original owner did not want his blog anymore. I took his content and ran with it, merging my wargaming blog with his wargaming blog and his past MMO coverage. MMO meaning of course Massively Multiplayer Online game along the lines of World of Warcraft or Everquest (the one truly great MMO that shall never be equaled).

The previous owner gave me his MMO articles (he turned to wargame reporting) and I turned to MMO reporting. Our stories are merged on this site, with no credit being given to anyone. We exchange stories and write freely. When you see a wargaming article that is more than likely Hudson doing all the work. When you see an MMO article (even this post) that is me. Lately though I have stopped playing MMO's except for a little Age of Conan, Fallen Earth and perhaps a stint in the new WoW expansion with my girlfriend. However my writing on this site has stopped almost completely and we are in the process of making this the best damn PC Wargaming blog you will find in terms of news, AAR's, reporting and videos.

Our New Years Resolution will be to pick up the slack in terms of computer wargaming videos that are out there so that we can show, in a more visceral manner, that these games CAN be fun despite the fact that the RTS kids snub their noses at us on the graphics and complexity front.

PC Wargaming has long since been a little too exclusionary and narrow minded. This year was perfect proof of all that with the doom and gloom posts about John Tiller Software and their digital downloads. JTS has prospered releasing two great titles (Kharkov 43 and Squad Battles Modern War) while other companies with much more draconian DRM schemes fly under the radar (I am looking at you Norb Development software). Heck we even had one excellent blogger almost quit and I am glad he didn't after many many threads he was visiting about new product releases were trampled underfoot. I am glad you are still with us Real and Simulated Wars.

Looking back at the year it was a great year for wargaming, not so great for MMO's. We had in the wargaming genre War in the East released, some great Battlefield Academy action, Revolution Under Siege, Decisive Campaigns, Hannibal vs Rome and many others. Matrix Games, HPS, Slitherine and John Tiller were very active and the wargaming genre just exploded. Also who can forget Panther Games and their mammoth Battles of the Bulge that sparked the $80 price outrage posts.

In the MMO world it was all about the Free To Play as many older titles buckled under the pressure like EQ2 and Lord of the Rings Online. Some newer titles announced they plan to like Champions Online. As the MMO market becomes more and more bloated by titles that copycat World of Warcraft expect to see people start to tire of them.

This site took off too as we posted a ton of AAR's and saw our traffic really increase and we do appreciate all of our readers. We try to stray from opinionated posts unless something really seems ludicrous (like Paradox and their "mail your NDA beta form to Sweden" nonsense) and we presented a lot of news to people and I think some informative posts as well.

Alongside all this Hudson was tabbed to post and head up the Scenario Design Center's AAR Depot which is a site meant to collect and display all the great work people have done writing After Action Reports for the various John Tiller and HPS Simulations games.

Quite a year of activity. So with that here is wishing everyone a Happy New Year. We need some time off blogging, at least two days! We managed to post a story EVERYDAY in December except for the 19th. Not sure how we missed that day. Lastly remember that wargaming is a hobby we all enjoy and pointless bickering and yelling about dumb things like the advancement of technology and the price points of some games does nothing but wedge a divide between us. Promote the hobby and stop being so damn negative about it.

Lets leave with a couple of news stories. First up the Computer Game winners of the Charles S Roberts Awards this year. The awards are always labeled a year behind so this is 2009 award list. Odd I know. The entire list of winners can be seen here: but since I have long since sworn off boardgaming and the like I will post what is pertinent to the blog and the PC winners. The winner is in bold white has an asterisk next to it.

Best Pre-20th Century Era Computer Wargame.

Campaign Austerlitz (by John Tiller), HPS Simulations
Crown of Glory - Emperor's Edition, Matrix Games
Field of Glory, Slitherine *
Musket and Pike: The Renaissance (by John Tiller), HPS Simulations
Napoleon Total War

Best 20th Century Era - Modern Computer Wargame

Achtung Panzer - Kharkov 1943
Close Combat: The Longest Day, Matrix Games
Commander - Europe at War Gold, Slitherine
War in the Pacific - Admiral's Edition, Matrix Games *
WW2: Time of Wrath, Matrix Games

Lastly lets take the time to think about this story and get the word out that this is one of the stupidest ideas ever thrown out there. A casino near Gettysburg. There is a way to voice your thoughts and opinions on this and you can do so at

Have a safe New Year all.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

American Civil War Shiloh AAR: Forrest Fights!

(What If) Nathan Bedford Forrest drives with his cavalry to scout the area south of Nashville.
Forrest Fights; April 1, 1862
25 turns, Human Confederate, AI is playing Union

Ok this was my first game of a John Tiller Civil War title other than a starter scenario I had played. At first I thought this scenario would be a laugher. 25 turns, I have all these guys AND I get to pick the ground to fight on? No problem I said to myself. I was wrong. I have never seen so much action take place in the final 8 turns of a game in my life. True to the Civil War the entire start of the scenario was manoeuvre and marching followed by turns of bloody conflict. As such this AAR will be starting late in the game when the action picks up.

I will be playing the Confederates but I would also like a crack at this as the Union. Given enough time I might have actually lost this one. The screenshot below shows how I had everything setup to start off around turn 9 at about 12:40PM. Mclungs artillery was on the hills to the north and the Pillow Flying was to my left, and I had men mounted up and ready to respond in the middle around West Harpeth. I was not sure if the Union was going to go for the bridge at Anderson's Mill so I split my forces and waited patiently.

Make sure to click CONTINUE READING for the rest of this AAR

Wrapping my head around AGEOD's World War One Gold

I like AGEOD wargames I really do. I still do not like their combat resolution however (the combat wheel is just weird and the icons and the results are too abstract for me). I just couldn't get into Revolution Under Siege mainly due to the fact that since Birth of America 2 I feel their games have become clunkier and the game system is not keeping up with the times. I attribute this to my unwillingness to learn that annoying command system with stacks and leaders and detachments and all that garbage. While mostly my fault I still feel that is the worst explained issue in their latest games as well as their wonky thus unfathomable supply system.

I have had WW1 Gold for a while because it seemed to be the best game on the subject matter. While I wanted to try HPS SIMS France 1914 I felt that it was a Panzer Campaigns game just with more restrictive movement rules and new unit pics and didn't think I could get into it. If anyone has played France 1914 and thinks it is the best out there let me know. God knows another 40 bucks to them won't kill me since they already own my first born.

Way back in the day I beta tested Guns of August and have that on my hard drive as well. For some reason that game always seemed flat to me I do not know why. Also I wanted some sort of global conflict simulator. WW1 Gold seemed to be the natural choice but the amount of bugs and that crazy orientation of the map that the original version of the game shipped with turned me off. Once Gold version was released and the map was turned to go east to west instead of north to south that alleviated a lot of issues for me right off the start.

So now I sit and try to learn this game, with its terrible in game tutorial and grammatical errors, and still find it very frustrating to play. The interface in a wargame has to be slick, and this one has serious issues with clicking, picking up and moving units. What is the best way to get around this? The bars under a soldier icon in a area are not cutting it for me. I drag and drop, and half the time it wont pick a unit up or it just de selects the area or doesn't register that I grabbed a unit. How do others move stacks or stacks within an area effectively?

In the screenshot below, why is the REPORTS window so small (bottom of the screen)? Is that a chat window thing? Do I have to enlarge that somehow? Is it a graphical glitch?

I will keep trying using web references and mods to make the game work to my liking but I am thinking that with the other titles on my hard drive struggling this much to just move around and get working in a game is more than I can tolerate. In most wargames you have about 30 minutes to grab me. I can usually tell if something is just not working right and I refuse to wrestle with interfaces and bugs. I want to like WW1 gold so I will keep diving in but man that click and drag interface is absolutely terrible.

Some resources I am consulting:

The HOW IT WORKS thread on the AGEOD forums:

A new sound mod which can be found here. The combat sounds of "Charge" and "Retreat" that ship with the game are laughable and should be an embarrassment for any company that wants money for a wargaming title.

I am also using a mod to brighten up the map. Why it is so dark I have no idea. When you go to drag and drop a unit the silhouette is sometimes drowned out by how dark the area is. Here is where I got the mod:

Last but not least the Syt learns to play WW1 AAR on the AGEOD forums. If you go through this you will learn the game. One page at a time. Also see the Schlieffen Plan AAR in that same forum. All of those are located here:

So here we go. I will struggle with this game for a couple more days since I am getting my fill of HPS games thanks to a playtest and Squad Battles and all that fun stuff. Sometimes I need a change and usually it makes me very thankful for the easy interface in the HPS games or in titles like War in the East. If anyone else has played WW1 Gold and has some tips leave them in the comments section please. By the way I got the game super cheap on Gamers Gate. Matrix Games wants more money for it so avoid that for now.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

HPS Napoleonic Campaigns Austerlitz add-on: Historicity & Realism project

Just announced yesterday this new mod to the HPS SIMS line of Napoleonic Battles looks to add a level of realism and changes never before seen in a mod for the series. The thread is lengthy and in depth as to why they are making the changes they are making and it even covers casualty losses and morale.

The entire thread can be viewed here:

Lets take a look though at what this mod will do for the series.

The main site for the mod is hosted here:
HPS battles are often short but brutal. In a recent Borodino PBEM (NRC), both French and Russian players sustained 30,000 losses within 11 turns, even though the battle had not started through the entire line and the game was played without morale-boosting optional rules and with overall morale reduction (similar to New Settings project).

"As of now there is only one scenario converted into H&R and it will be available within a next couple of days."


This is exactly what you can expect to see in H&R with a 300 horseman per hex limit, and organizational and morale setting described below: lots of disordered units, a number of routed ones, and stack on stack (typically 200-260 in a stack) casualties would usually be around 10-30 horsemen from both sides. In such a way, H&R cavalry battles will be decided by divisional/brigade level formations and the ability to rally and reorder rather than by total annihilation of the opposing side.


For reasons H&R OOB breaks infantry brigades into smaller tactical units more appropriate for the HPS hex environment. In the H&R OOB infantry units size is in between 385-450 troops, with about 420-430 being the average.

Melee Changes

To stop this behavior, the H&R uses a -60% attack modifier in PDT weather line. This change drops the success rate of 830 attackers in column (with a leader) vs 415 defenders in line (with a leader) to about 40-50%. In the long run even when meleeing with advantage two to one, the attacker can expect to have higher casualties. Accordingly, melee is still more decisive but now it also bears a significant level of risk and there is a more appropriate tradeoff between risk and return.

Leader Changes

Accordingly, the leader loss values have been changed. The overall cumulative casualty probability would be slightly higher (22%) than original (17%). The significant change is that leaders now are a lot more likely to be wounded by enemy fire and melee. The probability of being captured would be extremely rare with the most common leader loss being due to a wound. The overall result of all morale/fatigue changes is that players must be more careful with their units. You cannot just trust the morale bonus to keep your line in place, regardless of the punishment they receive. Rotation of fatigued or disordered units becomes a must. You always have to keep a local reserve in order to plug possible holes in your line. Sending medium-high fatigued units into attack becomes dangerous, since they will easily rout and spread disorder to the whole attack. Melee is less desirable, since it raises fatigue quickly.

The list goes on and on. This is a huge mod make no doubt. Take a look at the website and the original thread to get a grasp and a reason behind every change they made. They even go into the types of cannon balls that were used and the different ricochet values. Again good reading but not for the faint of heart.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

HPS SIMS Squad Battles Red Victory gameplay footage

Just a sample video of the turn based wargame Red Victory from HPS SIMS. Eastern front squad based combat 1943-1945. In this video I show how to move and throw Molotov cocktails at armor and get a rather nice result. I am using the Eastern Front Mod by IronX. I am using CAMSTUDIO to record this as I could not get FRAPS to record outside of a 3D game. Also I am not sure how to get CamStudio to record sound directly instead it seems to be using my speakers as a microphone. Anyway given my crappy video skills with anything but FRAPS at least you get an idea at the gameplay and how the mod looks and sounds. And I promise this will be my last Red Victory mod post.

HPS SIMS Squad Battles Red Victory gameplay footage from BluntF on Vimeo.

Ironx's Squad Battles Red Victory Eastern Front mod sample install and look

After finally getting Red Victory in the mail the other day I immediately went and grabbed the IronX mod for the summer and winter look. You can find that story here that we covered, but I thought I would show what it looked like once installed and how that went.

The instructions to install will require a bit of work on your end. First thing to do is to make TWO directories where you installed Red Victory.

I simply used the advice given here:

I renamed my initial install directory to Red Victory - Summer then I made a new folder called Red Victory - Winter and copied all of the summer directory into the winter directory. The final result was this:

After that I went into each directory and deleted the .SCN files. You can do this in windows explorer or whatever just by sorting by file type.

Next I dumped the entire contents of the respective zip files into the directories where they belong. Winter to winter and summer to summer. The sounds were next and you need to copy the sound files to the MEDIA folder of the summer and winter mods directories. If you want you can also use the optional included rally cries but I chose not to use those. If you want to install those they need to be put in each directory in the media folder pertaining to the country. The German rally zip file goes to German, German-AB, German-SS in the MEDIA directory.

Once all that is done make sure you have a shortcut on your desktop to start each type of mod. The shortcut you want to copy to your desktop is the RV.EXE file. create a shortcut to that and rename it for example RV Summer.exe or what not. That way you can launch winter or summer at your leisure. I actually have THREE installs of the game as I kept a full install of the standard game loaded.

The final mod looks really nice. Below are two shots from the WINTER version, one in 2D and one in 3D

Norm Koger's The Operational Art Of War III updated

Not sure how this one slipped under my radar but the venerable title was updated back in early December with a new beta patch that you can download from the Matrix Games members area. This is for the re released version from Matrix of course, not the original versions. Yes I still have this version on my hard drive. It was one of the first wargames that sucked away hours of my time and I still think it is a fine game (where else can you fight Vietnam and The Franco  -Prussian war?). Plus you cant beat the internet support around the world. The main site for me is located here:

Looks like a wealth of features judging from this PDF file. To highlight:


  • 1. AAA lethality was scaled down by a factor of 0.4.

  • 2. Adjacent artillery/HQ now will automatically bombard rather than assault if over half their firepower is from ranged equipment. (Note that making this player-optional via popup was too complicated for now). Adjacent

  • Naval units now always bombard regardless. So, this will impact naval combat simulation. The “Bombardment Cursor” movement path (in place of the “Assault Arrow” movement path) will appear if this feature is triggered (best seen if “Movement Paths” are set to “Floating”).

  • In addition, there are now animated cursors that, if used, can also alert the player to the type of combat that will result.

  • 3. A bug in Norm’s code that limited the number of shots that each side could take was fixed. This is an average of about 2 per side. It can vary between 1 and 8 depending on the ratio of armored and anti-personnel equipment.

  • This may help with ants, lone tanks and some other items. This only affects the number of shots and not the chance of taking a shot or the chance of penetration.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Squad Battles Modern War is released, I am locked and loaded

Fresh off the digital download is the brand new Squad Battles Modern War from the John Tiller Software site. I got up this morning and at 6am the game was in the store, I busted out my credit card and had the game digitally delivered. I was up and playing in less than 10 minutes. What a good feeling that is eh? I entered my serial number, the game was activated (did not require internet connection EDIT: It does require a connection) and I was launching smoke grenades and firing M203's at enemy positions with my infantrymen in seconds.

This newest version of the Squad Battles game features no 3D mode but has added many features like a mouse wheel scroll, 2 linked scenario campaigns, Leader morale modification to assault morale and more rules.

That's not all though kids. Check out these documents straight from the JTS site:

Here are some files from the game (PDF files):

Expect an AAR real soon but to wet your appetite here are the screenshots of my first load and starting scenario:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Battlefield Academy: Blitzkrieg France gameplay

Here is in game footage of one of the scenarios against the AI where my goal is to destroy and delay the French from organizing and getting convoys through. I have a certain amount of turns to destroy at least 30 French units and try to pick up some side achievements. I ended up winning with about 2 turns to spare. The new expansion is pretty cool and features a "rally" and "medic" ability which really adds to the game in terms of strategy.

This scenario took me a lot longer than I thought it would. I was able to purchase my units at the start and went pretty heavy on armor.

For more on the expansion see our coverage here

Friday, December 24, 2010

History in a screenshot: Campaign Series The Road To Bastogne

First off merry Christmas everyone. While not the first blog post I have made around the holidays (thanks to a friend of mine my blogging content goes way back) this is surely the most important to me. In honor of the holidays I give you some history focusing on the Battle of Bulge and wish a happy holidays to all of our veterans and currently serving military personnel.

This screenshot relates well to the historical battle. I recently fought the Road to Bastogne scenario as the Germans in the Campaign Series game West Front. The Americans were in charge of blocking and stalling an overwhelming force of German armor and this scenario held true to fashion.
Mageret, 8km E of Bastogne, Belgium: The German counterattack through the Ardennes on 16 December 1944, came as a total surprise to the Allies and shattered the American First Army's front lines. With the 28th Infantry Division overrun, the US VIII corps rushed its armored divisions forward to set up "road blocks" to delay the German juggernaut and buy time for the scattered defenders to regroup and for reinforcements to arrive. One such blocking force consisted of elements from Colonel Gilbreth's CCR/9th Armored Division, survivors of the 110th RGT/28 Infantry Division, and Team Cherry/10th Armored at Longvilly.

This scenario featured a lot of armor and two German divisions closing in on the Americans from both directions. The Americans would be forced to fight their way back down the road where a hungry German unit was waiting on them. This scenario was a turkey shoot as the Germans yet I still managed to take a lot of casualties. When the battle was said and done the screen was a heap of wrecked armor, potholes and broken down vehicles. One thing I like about this game is after a huge battle you can see a lot of damage on the screen and this episode was no exception. In the screenshot you can see the Germans advancing right to left forcing the Americans into another German unit on the far right and the smoking armor wrecks in between. Straight below is an overhead shot of the actual battle area.

I will certainly try this one as the Americans and try to give the Germans what for and see if I can do better than the AI. In the meantime bundle up and have a good holiday. Not sure if I will be blogging much but I will try to update Twitter and Facebook as much as possible.

IronX releases Red Victory Squad Battles Eastern Front Mod

Just in time for Christmas...but not in time for my Red Victory which is still in the snail mail...ARRGHH NON DIGITAL DISTRIBUTORS I HATE THEE!

At any rate this fascinating mod takes Red Victory and flips it upside on its head totally giving you a new experience.

You can read more about it here

Lets go over some of the features:
There are three zip files, one for the summer graphics, one for winter and a common set of sound effects.

Instructions on how to install the mod are included in each zip file.

How will it look? Just take a gander. The mod gives you WINTER and SUMMER looks plus new effects. (click to enlarge)

Take a look at the cool 3D effects on the unit pictures. Grass up front with the image of the trooper and blurry background adds a lot to the feel. The winter mod (below) looks really great. Nice work! (click to enlarge)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Squad Battles: Advance of the Reich AAR: Crossing the Berezina

I hadn't been paying too much attention to Squad Battles lately thanks to my resurgence in John Tiller's Campaign Series. Today however I decided to fire up Advance of the Reich, update it and mess around in a simple scenario to make sure my mods had installed perfectly. Well as all things go the next thing I know I am fighting a pitched battle that I had no intention of writing up an AAR for but it became so heated I had to take screenshots and talk about them.

The scenario I picked was early eastern front and reads as follows:
02 Jul 41.  The German blitzkrieg had sliced through the frontier Russian defences and just completed the encirclement at Minsk.  The Panzer divisions drove on towards Moscow.  The next natural obstacle was the Berezina River, with bridges at Borisov.  Although the Russians had defenders there including the 50th Rifle Division and the Borisov Tank School, the 18th Panzer Division broke through these defences and crossed the river.

This time I turned Fog of War on and went with my gut. I hadn't played Squad Battles in quite a while so I didn't even bother to brush up on the rules. I just started moving and attacking and threw chance to the wind. Well the battle ended up being very intense. So much so by the end I was pumping my fist at each Russian tank I blew up across the river. I pulled off a major victory but really got walloped casualty wise in the process. The screenshots I have are mainly near the end of the battle when I decided it might be a good idea to log this one.

Near the end of the game I had advanced through the town but lost tanks due to immobility and getting too close to enemy units. The town was a wreck. Dead men, exploded vehicles and abandoned weaponry lay all around. I had taken every objective but the one across the river Berezina itself. As I mopped up Russian resistance the Borisov Tank School rushed armor down the bridge and what ensued was an epic tank duel across the river with my panzers blasting away across the bridge against his weak BT's.

John Tiller announces Squad Battles: Modern War

Wow suddenly a day I thought there would be nothing going on has shifted to many news items being released all at once and the next item is the latest Squad Battle title being announced. "Ranging from operations in Afghanistan such as Anaconda to the initial invasion of Iraq and subsequent fighting in cities like Fallujah, Squad Battles: Modern War covers the major battles and engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq". Expect this one around the 27th of December.

Entitled Modern War the game will feature the following:


  • 44 scenarios covering actions such as Operation Anaconda, Fallujah, Mosul and Sadr City.

  • Scenarios range in length from 10 to 25 turns and cover actions from small firefights between a handful of men to hundreds of men battling it out for key strongpoints on a variety of battlefields.

  • Close quarters urban fighting all the way to remote terrain ambushes are modeled and various points in between.

  • 2 linked scenario campaigns.

In addition to the stand alone scenarios players may also choose to play the "campaign" format where they will play a series of scenarios centered around a particular figure. As long as this person survives each scenario they continue on to the next battle, but if he is lost the campaign game will end. For players who enjoy "sandbox" features of wargaming a wide array of editors is included - scenario editor, OOB editor, parameter data editor, DAT editor and sub-map editor. 32 "full" maps are included for use with the sub-map editor, which allows "chopping up" of a map to create a new smaller one to represent certain actions. These maps range in size from 30 x 20 hexes up to 226 x 244 hexes - ample ground to make many custom scenarios.

A few touches have been added to like mouse wheel scrolling and things like that. I am looking forward to this one as I have just recently gotten back into the swing of Squad Battles. They are very addictive titles indeed. The announcement is on the John Tiller site.

Panzer Campaigns Normandy '44 updated

Just released the update for John Tiller's Panzer Campaigns Normandy '44 has been posted on the HPS SIMS site, further debunking rumors that suddenly all support for his games would end and the world would cease to exist.

By the way YES! to this: - Added new Forced Bridge Crossing Rule which allows units to force a bridge crossing against enemy ZOC (see Users Manual under Movement).

Here are the update details:
Changes for Normandy '44 1.12
- Change so that Disrupted units do not receive replacements and
Detached units receive replacements at one-fourth (not one-half) the
normal rate.
- Change so that for an HQ unit, both the actual and nominal command range
are displayed in the alternate hex info area (actual/nominal), the
Command Range view option uses the actual Command Range, while the
Maximum Range view option shows the Nominal Command Range (see the
Command section of the Users Manual).
- Change so that F quality units can recover from Disruption and Broken.
- Added ability for engineers to abandon an engineering bridge (see
Engineer Menu).
- Added current date and time to Scheduled Dialog.
- Change so that Saving Movement Points will save enough points for a
towed artillery unit to unlimber at the end of its movement.
- Added the ability for commandos to blow bridges and damage AT trenches.
- Change so that Partisans and Commandos can move from one enemy ZOC to
- Change so that Commandos are always in command and never isolated.
- Change to allow Battleships to fire AA at high flying aircraft.
- Added new Forced Bridge Crossing Rule which allows units to force a
bridge crossing against enemy ZOC (see Users Manual under Movement).
- Increased Engineer digging in bonus from 2x to 3x.
- Added toolbar button for highlighting units in Travel Mode.
- Added new Bunker and Mine Prob Parameter Data Values and allowing
non-bridge engineer units to construct Bunkers.
- Added new Night Move Disruption parameter data value which determines
probability of night movement by non-rail and non-travel or
non-road movement units causing Disruption.
- Change so that Interdiction attacks have twice the chance of Disruption
and can cause the loss of up to half the movement allowance in movement
- Added a range 1 hard target artillery fire modifier (see Users Manual
under Firing).
- Added Optional Rule for delayed reporting of enemy Disruption.
- Change so that towed AT gun unit which changes to Travel Mode without
expending any movement points prior to that change will not trigger
enemy Opportunity Fire.
- Added Quality Fire Modifier Parameter Data Value which applies to
quality A and B units.
- (Editor) Added ability to determine units which have no on-map HQ under
File Menu.
- (Editor) Added Reinforcemnts to Scenario Summary file under File Menu.
- Added new Submap Editor (pcsub.exe).

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The NEW Combat Mission. What's to love?

Rejoice for after all this time we finally get to see what the new updated Combat Mission will look like. I must admit it looks pretty slick but I have been less than enamored with Battlefront lately. The CM fan deep down inside of me though wants to see this game be good. I used to be the ultimate Combat Mission nut back in the day. I had mods to make my tanks look better, I had mods for explosions, I had scenarios, I even tried to refight all of WW2 in Europe using the engine and inventing a turn based game using CM to resolve the battles.

So this comes as a happy announcement from the BF crew. I knew it was coming out soon but to see the first screenshots makes me warm up a little inside. So what is new and what is to love about this revamped version?

First you may want to visit the website:

Well what isn't new is the setting. Back to a post Normandy invasion scene and I do wish they had done something different like start at the beginning of the war and release expansion packs to add to it. While I am sure we are all sick of fighting post D-DAY battles at least there is hope the the features will make it interesting:

Unlike many other games, CM:BN offers far more than a limited handful of maps and missions. In fact, CM:BN delivers endless replayability, just like the first Combat Mission games did. Besides two semi-dynamic campaigns, one from each side's perspective, you will find dozens of standalone missions, full two-player capability for both online play as well as Play-By-Email (PBEM), and an innovative and almost entirely overhauled QuickBattles system including troops purchase, "cherry picking" and map selection and preview.

And that's just what comes with the game. Players have full access to a full featured Mission Editor to create their own maps, missions, and campaigns. If making new battles isn't your thing, then simply enjoy what others make by downloading them for free. There are more Combat Mission scenarios to download than any person could play in several lifetimes.

That is one feature that will be good to see. There are more things added that caught my eye. I will these below:
With CM:BN, we can now do things like purchase a US Medium Tank Battalion and see how it is organized and what it has for unique Battalion level support forces. You can keep, reduce, or delete units from the Battalion until you have just a Platoon on its own, a partial Company supported by a Battalion recon element, etc.

In CM:BN, the player is given a Rarity Pool to draw from. Each unit has Rarity Points assigned to it, which are deducted from the Rarity Pool when purchased. The base price of the unit is unaffected. What this does is allow you to purchase something like a very rare, but weak, armored Car Platoon without compromising your ability to purchase things like infantry, artillery, or more capable armored vehicles.

So besides the update in graphics and the replay ability they are also tweaking the AI:
The new improved Tactical AI ensures genuine battlefield behavior even at the smallest scale, no matter if you play a small platoon firefight scenario, or a large battalion sized engagement.

That is about it in a nutshell and there you have it Combat Mission fans. Lets hope this one turns out to be polished and raring to go right out of the box and not a heated mess like Theatre of War 2.

APOX, the post apocalyptic RTS, is going open beta

Now who ya gonna get to haul that tanker?

Grab your keys at the official site:

The game will install through STEAM. So if you don't like STEAM well...first you have some issues... and secondly well your tough luck. Might as well get with the program and give it a shot.

APOX is a real-time strategy game set in a near post-apocalyptic, Mad Max-esque universe.

Key Features

* Prone, cover, and realistic line-of-fire
* Realistic ammo and fuel supply system
* Multiplayer games with up to 32 players
* Over 100 maps
* Map editor
* Place soldiers in vehicles to essentially form new unit types

DC Universe Online is going to launch in a bad state of affairs

January 11th is the set launch date of a game that is still handing out "beta" keys. Or should we say "come play for free and do nothing to fix the issues" keys.

This still haunts the game in beta right up until launch time. Comments on the beta forum from testers have seen people begging Sony to fix it since many are reaching end game in quick fashion. You can read the majority of that here when I posted about it before.

However it gets worse. Sony it seems will do nothing about it and expects you to complete little feats and collect costume pieces while they work on making the game more and more console player friendly right before launch.

I'm just going to throw this out there quickly and let people make up their own minds. The reason interest in DCUO might be short lived for a lot of players is because, and I've said this before, by the time you hit lvl 30 and exhaust all the solo content, the game becomes primarily a group/PvP experience. In other words unless you're playing with other people there just isn't anything to do.

Now the devs announced that they plan on adding a mess of new solo content for people who hit 30 in a future patch and I'm very excited about this, but we've still yet to see it and probably won't for maybe another month. My own personal opinion is that if the devs want this game to be a hit they really need to focus on providing plenty of content for gamers who want to play with their friends and gamers who just want to jump and start playing whether their playing with another person or not. Because once you hit the level cap, you're basically dependent on someone else being interested in playing the same duo, alert, or raid you want to.

The latest patch? Have no fear controller users! Rather than work on that lets put MORE controller options in. Oh joy!


  • Directional Pad and F1-F4 now controls Quick Menu.

  • Directional Pad Up/F1 - Actions Menu - Allows player to see Active Combos and Abilities, toggle PVP Flag and change stance.

  • Directional Pad Right/F2 - Buffs  - Shows what buffs you are using currently.

  • Directional Pad Down/F3 - Canned Chat - Quick Chat system.

  • Directional Pad Left/f4 - Emotes – Pre-generated Actions.

  • Restored ability to switch hard lock targets by pressing DPad left/right while holding L1.

  • Improved response of Acrobatics controls.

  • Added ability to cancel channeled powers by jumping or pressing “block.”

Sounds like a PS3 good time. End game content in the MMO with less features than any other "super hero" MMO? Sony community manager RadarX says no:
Solo Content is of course a very important part of any MMO and DCUO has quite a bit.  If you have pushed all the way through the main story arcs, there are always other options:

  • Investigations:  Have you collected them all?  There are tons!

  • Feats:  A large portion of the feats in the game can be completed solo.

  • Costumes:  Have you collected each piece?

Finally DCUO bridges the gap between Solo and Group content with Duos.  This is about as low impact as you can get in an MMO requiring only 2 people and less than 30 mins of your time.  This isn't saying more solo content won't be made but the goal is bring at least to the point of Duos.

More after the break. Click CONTINUE to see a video

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hexwar offering buy one month get one month free

For those not in the know Hexwar is a gaming service that lets you play directly translated classic board wargames on the PC. Do not expect flashy sound effects (or any sounds) or animated graphics. This is a straight up service to let you play the older hex based wargames you loved back when on the internet. There is no AI in the solo mode just hot seat to practice. One month is $12.95. For more details see the site here: is the home of one of the most exciting developments in wargaming.  HexWar, in the UK, has worked with Decision Games, in the USA, to bring back the glory of those old SPI days.  We develop a mix of recent games from Decision Games and classic Simulations Publications (SPI) games and make them available for on-line play.

HexWar games are complete computer simulations.  You no longer need the board game or the rules.  The game system knows all the rules and provides an excellent interface to make it easy for you to play the game.

Best of all HexWar is one of the largest wargaming communities on the web.  There are always hundreds of other players waiting to play you.  Log onto now and issue a challenge to someone to play now.

Via HexWar you play at your pace, when you want and where you want.  The HexWar Game Launcher managers all your game turns and you can always watch a replay of the last player turn of a game you have not played for a while.


Purchase a new, or extend an existing, HexWar membership between now and the 31st December 2010 and we will add a free month to your HexWar membership (only one free month is available per member). is a membership based web site.  Members are able to play 41 SPI and Decision games board games converted to on-line play.  Non-members can play the classic game Napoleon At Waterloo free of charge as often they wish and any of the 41 titles for two game turns.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Battlefield Academy Blitzkrieg France is now available

The first add on for Battlefield Academy is now available on the Slitherine site

Battlefield Academy Blitzkrieg France features the following new additions to the game:

25 New Units & 28 modified units with new camouflage patterns and stats to represent the war in 1940: Panzer II German Light Tank, Sturmpanzer German SP Gun, French Infantry, French LMG, Matilda I British Light Tank, Renault FT17 French Light Tank, Char Bis French Heavy Tank, R35 French Medium Tank, Somua 35 French Heavy Tank, French 25mm AT Gun, French Lorry, French Mortar, French Engineer, French Hotchkiss MG, Corps Francs, British Boyes AT Rifle, Sau 40 French SP Gun, Sdkfz 251/10/4 German Halftrack, Berliet VPH Mobile AA, French Scout, Lorraine 38 APC, Panzerjager I, German Panzerbusche AT Rifle, Panhard P178 French Armoured Car, Schneider P16 French Armoured Car

  • ·         9 Single Player Missions

  • ·         4 Multiplayer Missions

  • ·         New Abilities & Bonuses

  • Rally – an officer bonus that allows you to boost morale of a single squad

  • Resupply – an officer bonus that allows you to replenish a units ammo

  • German Heinkel 111 Airstrike

  • French Breugot 693 Airstrike

  • ·         New Bunker Objects

Campaign 1776: The battle of Guilford Court House after action report part 3

Part two is here

The American command report for the start of turn 12 (out of 30! What had I gotten myself into!) was pretty promising. I managed to not only supply some units that last turn could not fire, I also rallied some men, recovered some fatigue but failed to get the routed units in check.

In the northern part of the battlefield I continue to hold the high ground and for the first time the mounted cavalry of Virginia Light Dragoons gets into the action. By placing them on higher ground I was able to shoot over my line units into the British lines. The white arrows represent all the shots I was able to take.

A huge amount of gunfire erupted all over the map last turn and it would take a while to describe it all. Let us take a look at the developing situation in the southern part of the map. If you recall last AAR report I was awaiting the epic clash between the British 71st Highlanders and the Virginia Brigade which had just been brought up to stop the British advance through the woods. Well this has happened as the two units met head on in the woods in a spectacular demonstration of firepower.

More on that in a moment. It is 1:55pm and I decide up in the northern section of the map to take some bold actions. Of all the places this is where I have stopped the British the best.

Colonel Lynch orders his Virginia Rifle Corps to flank and attempt to finish off the British 33rd Regiment, which has been mired and bogged down in the woods under constant fire since the battle began in earnest. I perform this but my flanking unit goes low on ammo after firing. Well crap. There is always melee I guess but I cannot pass this up.

To the right across the clearing I enfilade and gun down the 5th and 8th Infantry of the British Welsh Fusiliers. Their numbers are so low now that next turn I may consider giving them the what for and the rifle butt of a few American men on a charge. If this turns around I may clear the entire northern end of the clearing. However the British are moving the reserves of that unit up so my time is limited. And so is my damn supply which continues to cause me problems.

One amazing note. 2 American 6 pounders opened fire on the remaining ONE British gun that was shelling me across the clearing. Amazingly I hit the unit and blew the gun up. This means that right now my artillery controls the clearing, whatever good two guns will do. This amazing shot is shown below:

In the far south area of the battle (my left flank) I decide once and for all to put an end to the British Von Bose unit that I had encirlcled and whittled down. I mount a melee charge and take the unit out entirely. Major Baldwin is in the thick of it and leads the charge. However to the west Tarleton is pressing down on me and it is time to back up where the cavalry of Henry Lee's Legion can back me up. I have inflicted enough casualties but even I know when to back out. British Lt. Col de Buiy is killed by the American charge and replaced. I consider that a big win. Oh well...he is the one that over extended his line so tough!

There we have it. Turn 12 is about over and the jump map below shows the overall picture. Expect a lot of gunfire to be exchanged and the lines to probably not move that much over the next few turns. Of course please remember that all this is being played where I can SEE the enemy units so take my success with a grain of salt. I don't normally use Fog Of War off but this is my first BIG non tutorial game of 1776 and I really wanted to see how well the computer played the game or if I was wasting my time.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Campaign 1776: The battle of Guilford Court House after action report part 2

In case you missed part one you can read that here.

Ok now on to part two. 1:40 pm pn March 15th 1781. As can be seen below I will be forced to shift my lines to the east all the while keeping the higher elevation up on the ledge. As I move I am able to take potshots and start to seriously widdle down the British infantry. They may be taking the middle field but they are paying dearly the open area is littered with the dead. In the woods in the upper left corner of the shot Colonel Lynch's Virginia Rifle Corp is finding it slow going through the woods however he has inflicted a lot of casualties and was the main line of defense when the militia broke. He held and the British were forced to turn back in the dense woods.

Deep on the southern end of the map Tarleton is approaching in the woods where I had to shore up my defenses in a hurry after then entire line of militiamen broke. I am moving men into position to stop the British from entirely enveloping my left flank (south flank on the screen) but it is slow. I finally manage to rally my men and reform my lines. The British Von Bose regiment is caught off guard and isolated as they advanced too far. Still with Tarleton and his men bearing down on me I wont be able to stay that extended for long. I inflict as many casualties as I can while just to the right I set up a new line of defense right before another clearing. If Tarleton comes at me I will counter charge with my own cavalry.

The overall view of the battle. You can see I have lost the clearing and had to pull back and will reform on the far side (right side) of the battle. The clearing is choked full of casualties and the British advance through it has been rough. However with them now forming up along the wood line and bringing guns and supplies forward I will have no choice but to fall back as I am running low or out of ammunition.

As I fall back I plan to form a solid line of defense on the far side of the clearing. Here there is one road to the right side of the battle map and the British will have to fight hard to labor through the woods. I think that the AI opponent will try to take the middle road and objective so I will put the bulk of my defenses there. Advance units of the British force have reached the right side of the clearing and a huge battle is about to take place. Luckily I have the woods.I have to stop the British before they get too far into the woods. Do I have enough time to bring my men back and hold the British off? Find out in Part Three! The Highlanders are a tough enemy unit so I must make sure my line does not break and I have some good units opposite them.

Gary Grigsby's War in the East: Official 1.01 update

Before they were beta patches but now Matrix Games has finalized the first patch for the monster Eastern Front game from Gary Grigsby. You can download it on the product page:

Changes from the README file:

v1.01 – December 17, 2010
· Bug Fixes

1. Fixed a bug that restored admin points previously expended by undoing a unit's
strategic movement.
2. Fixed it so Shift-T cannot be used if the unit does not fulfill the requirements in
3. Corrected the map data in hex 80,40 in Velikie Luki scenario.
4. Fixed a typo in the HQ switch leader check pop-up that spelled "succeeded" as
5. Disabled map clicking during the AI turn.
6. Fixed a display bug in the combat text shown at high detail levels that could lead it to
report a unit was shot at by itself.
7. Fixed a bug that would in some cases prevent valid air groups from being listed as
available for an air mission (in the pick air groups for mission window) even though
they were closer to the target than some other units that were being listed.
8. Fixed text typos: "Numberal" to "Numeral", "Unit and it's.." to "Unit and its.."
9. Prevented the user preference for the combat resolution message level from being able
to be set higher than 7.
10. Fixed range of Soviet 152mm Howitzer.
11. Changed the name of IS-I, IS-II, IS-III to IS-1, IS-2, IS-3

Pride of Nations beta: Seriously Paradox?

I was a little happy until Paradox pulled a Paradox:
Welcome to the beta of Pride of Nations! To be able to join, you need to fill in and print the attached NDA. Make  sure you get your forum name right. Send it to:

Paradox Interactive, floor 11
Åsögatan 108
118 29 Stockholm

We will start to accept applications after New Years Eve, and your NDA must  have arrived.

Are you serious? You can attach a PDF and email it to me but I cannot digitally sign it and send it back to you. Instead you want me to spend my money to snail mail a envelope to Sweden so I can test your game. Or better yet do you prefer carrier pigeon?

Give me a break. 1995 called they want their correspondence method back.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

EQ2 paid servers still full of elitist snobs

9:45 am CST:

  • Number of people in Frostfang TWO on free to play server: 45. Two instances running of Frostfang

  • Number of people in Frostfang ONE on paid server: 20

You make the connections. Paid servers are dwindling. Server load on Antonia Bayle: Light. Server load on Freeport F2P: Medium. Antonia Bayle is the most crowded paid server.

Well my hopes for some nice playtime in EQ2 pretty much were snubbed the past couple of weeks as I further realized that due to the shrinking playerbase on the paid servers, the age of the game, the fact that no one rolls alts and the unwillingness of elitist high level snobs to PUG anything that doesn't benefit them that my time there would be lonely and full of solo grinding. Not exactly why I sign up to play MMO's. My online gaming time has been limited lately as it is since I have been shifting more to wargames and giving up the cloned, over copied MMO world (thanks to a co writer here at the blog). However I do respect EQ2 for its lineage to EQ1 and the times I had in that game. I wanted to like EQ2 and this is my FOURTH such endeavor. Every time though, due to in game mechanics and the overall attitude of the populace, I end up solo'ing and doing garbage that is downright boring to me.

I can understand people want to solo but even World of Warcraft has more incentives to group than this game. And the community doesn't help this either. I give you this thread HERE, started by some poor soul that just got back to the game, about why no one groups. At every angle this gentleman is shot down and destroyed by elitist close minded snobby paid server players that describe in detail why they hate helping people or "socializing with misfits that don't immediately join some guild with a bunch of level 90's in it".

And that is what you will get folks. Guilds with level 90's that only want to get more raiders for their scant endgame population. A new player has no hope in hell of finding ANYONE with the same goals and outgoing personality in this game on paid servers at this point. This is why almost every server is being merged and why the Free To Play servers are experiencing an influx of people with more open minded attitudes.

Take for example this elitist snob that pines on and on about how awesome he is and how, if he groups with you, the only time he will do it is if you are a recruit for his overly awesome pixel chasing raiding guild:
"I don't expect anyone outside my raiding guild to know anything. Actually could care less unless they are applying to my guild, then I do expect them to know 100% what to do. I have, when asked, helped people who have called out with either a question, a problem on a quest, or just having a problem they need help with. I either answer the question, help with the quest (up to a point) or try to solve their problem for them. Then I'm on my way again. If you need help to complete a quest...then I'm not your guy."

That's Staven on the Permafrost server. Pay him a visit with a flood of tells. He will love you for it. Ask him where the bank is.

More from Staven:
"Glad you're out there helping them (no sarcasm). Down the road, they may be a recruit at my guild. Question for you, do you raid? I happen to. Do you have any idea what it is like to join a pug and have 3K more hit points then the tank in the group? Ever have a bunch of remarks made trying to make you feel bad because you dedicate 20 hours a week to raid and have really good raid gear?"

Hey thanks for not gracing us with your Norrathian Godlike presence. Didn't mean to ask you to get up off the couch in your mom's basement.

This thread

is full of people like that. From the cat lady that is afraid of swear words so she doesn't PUG, to the guy that likes to group only to be powerleveled by his guild mates you have the entire gambit in that one forum post. Pretty much sums up what is wrong with the game. There are a few bright spots that get to the heart of the issue as I have stated such as:
No new blood coming in: There is a miniscule number of new players coming to EQ2, current new players are "pushed" in the direction of EQ2X, from what I gather populations at lower levels are much better than EQ2.

Server populations are in pretty bad shape: Even the up coming merges won't really help that much (as it's only merging two servers into a single server for each "merge").  Low server populations means that even if people are leveling up new toons the odds of actually seeing one or bumping into them and grouping (even if they/you want too) are very small.

Another issue is the 10 ton behemoth World of Warcraft Cataclysm and its PUGINATOR feature. Find a group at anytime, whenever you want, any role by simply clicking a button and waiting 1-15 minutes (longer if you are easy mode DPS).

Other people sum up basic mechanics issues in EQ2 never addressed by Sony at least in the 6 years I have seen:

Personally, from my own perspective...
The players these days have no patience.  Have no desire for challenges.  Don't want to spend a minute more then they have to to finish an instance.

Instead, the encounters have turned into nothing but DPS checks.  And as a result, groups only want members who fit the ideal "template" for max DPS and fastest kills.  If a group wipes the first attempt, it's a catastrophe and everyone is complaining about this player or that player.  People who ask to join a group and get rejected because they are not the class the group wants will eventually stop asking.  When the group should instead be glad to have that player and adjust itself to make an attempt on the encounter.

That's a very sad fact of EQ2.

You can gauge the sad state of a game by meandering its forums. Well except World of Warcraft which has forums that have always been a cesspool. If you are going to play EQ2 I have learned two things:

A) Play on the extended free to play servers
I've been playing a bit on the free server and the best thing about is is the constant call of "lfm". I just turn on my LFG flag, wait for someone to send me a tell and nine times out of ten we have great fun. I like meeting people like that. I enjoy running around with different people rather than the same ones all the time. And I much prefer actually playing a toon rather than having guildies powerlevel him up to 90.

This has been one of my favourite parts of the game since I discovered Blackburrow in EQ1 and realised it might be a good idea to team up with another player.

B) Roll a berserker because apparently every class sucks but that one. Nice balance Sony. Reference:

I think even Sony fanboys like the editors of ZAM and various bloggers out there will tell you that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Putting the fun back into WW2 flight sims

I had been looking for a long time for an easy to control not so simulation focused WW2 fighting game that would let me relive the fun that Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain gave me back in the day. Remember that oldie but goody by Lucasarts Games? Well I think I have found that title in the Slitherine game Air Strike Eagles of World War 2. Now don't get me wrong here. This is a straight up arcade flight simulation game. Let me explain my wants and needs. First off I couldn't hack IL-2 Sturmovik. I can't hack Wings of Prey. My flightstick is nice but those games were boring as hell to me. They look nice but they were not fun. At least not for me. I wanted the sky filled with planes, I wanted dogfighting, multiple planes and the ability to bomb things. Most of all I wanted it easy to control. I don't need 40 views out of the cockpit, I don't give a rats ass about my instruments. I don't want to fly around in formation for 20 minutes looking for one thing to bomb. I just want to load up the game, jump in a plane and duke it out.

Skeptical at first I tried the demo to Air Strike. Recently I had been burned on some really bad flight sim games I will never touch again. 10 minutes with the demo and I was already ordering the game off the site. Not only is it fun and easy to control even with a mouse and keyboard it had variable missions and a good amount of planes to choose from. Future expansion packs will add on campaigns and missions. The best part was you could upload your pilot's stats to the Slitherine servers and compare yourself with other pilots.

I haven't tested the multiplayer yet I have just been doing single player missions to get used to it on ROOKIE mode. I have liked the diversity of missions on the RAF side so far which have included things like Dunkirk and patrolling the English Channel. One nice feature is that if you blow a mission the story continues. You gain ranks as you go through the war and the stories jive closely to real timeline events. You can fly bombers too. The interface is simple. W looks behind you, A and D look left or right and S is the bomber sights which look straight down. No complex controls no 40 page reference key card just plain fun.

I have taken some video of the game and I will embed it below so you can see how it looks for a night mission where you get to shoot out spotlights and protect some bombers. Keep in mind this is on the easiest level of the game so things like colliding and all that stuff are turned way down. Enjoy. Check out the game if you want to relive the fun glory days of action flight sims and not feel like you need to go to class to accomplish anything.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Update from John Tiller's site means good wargaming ahead

Man all this drama and exciting turn of events in the PC Wargaming world has really kept me busy this past two weeks. I haven't had this much wargaming news since Lock and Loaded was announced for the PC. We should be seeing that ....think.

Ah well never mind. Ok so over on John Tiller's site he has posted a new message to the fans which I am sure somewhere someone will copy and paste and take it to mean all he cares about is getting your money. Whatever. All I care about is this statement right here:
Right now we have over 11 games in active development at various stages of completion and we will bring those to you just as soon as they reach the high level of quality you have come to expect of our products

Awesome. And all digital downloads so no snail mail for me.

Here is the entire post:
Thanks again for making our first release such a huge success. Sales of Kharkov '43 continue to set multiple performance milestones for the first month even in the short time it has been released. The team and I are greatly enthusiastic about our future efforts at this point.

Our second release, a modern Squad Battles game, is finished and ready to be released in the near future. Following that, we plan a flurry of new games in multiple areas to bring a wide variety of offerings to the store. Right now we have over 11 games in active development at various stages of completion and we will bring those to you just as soon as they reach the high level of quality you have come to expect of our products. And we have other games in development over the entire range of areas so that a total of 47 games are either being actively worked on or are designed and waiting on a scenario designer to bring them to completion. Plus there are over 7 game concepts that we are working on in more than 3 new game areas. And expect three surprises next year that the team is working on including a new game format that should prove to be very popular. Finally we are also doing investigations into smartphone development as an adjunct to our PC games.

Thanks for providing us the opportunity to develop such a wide variety of games. The team and I have such strong interests in military history and its representation that it is gratifying to see that you feel the same way. Be sure to let us know what your interests are because regardless of what that might be, I'll bet there is someone in our team with that same interest who would really like to hear from you.

Looks like good times for the wargamer up ahead. Panzer Korps soon from Slitherine, just had War in the East come out, a Battlefield Academy expansion soon and now this good news.

2011 Golden Globe Nominations are out

Along with wargaming I am a huge movie buff. This is a good time of year. The Golden Globe Nominations were announced recently and below are a list of the nominees. Keep an eye on these awards as the heavy winners will be Oscar frontrunners. Sunday, January 16, 2011 is when they air on NBC.

I am only listing the top few awards. For the entire list including television head on over to this link:

Best Picture (Drama)
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Best Picture (Musical or Comedy)
Alice in Wonderland
The Kids Are All Right
The Tourist

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”)
David Fincher (“The Social Network”)
Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”)
Christopher Nolan (“Inception”)
David O. Russell (“The Fighter”)

Best Actor (Drama)
Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”)
Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”)
James Franco (“127 Hours”)
Ryan Gosling (“Blue Valentine”)
Mark Wahlberg (“The Fighter”)

Best Actress (Drama)
Halle Berry (“Frankie and Alice”)
Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”)
Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”)
Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”)
Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Today's history lesson: The Battle of Auerstadt

Just a little present for my early morning readers. Took a sweet screenshot last night from the tutorial scenario I am fighting in HPS Sims Jena-Auerstadt. Napoleon won a big victory here in 1806 that led to the capitulation of the Prussians by 1807 (the Treaties of Tilsit). I am not so sure I will have the same result in this northern sector battle. Getting used to these games means that I make a lot of errors but sometimes I react fast enough to cover my mistakes.

The map below is how big the area is covered in the game but my little shot here is in the very tippy top up north where is says "battle area". The arrival around 10:15 am October 14th of the 1st, 2nd and 12th Chasseurs may have saved the day on my right flank but further down on my left I have to hurry reserves to plug a whole I may let the Prussians bust into. This is not shown in the photo. After the photo is a picture I took of the Prussians charging my right flank. I thought it was pretty cool. You can see I have my French in square formation and I have some little skirmishers out there deployed to slow down that cavalry. I love that stuff! I have a spelling error in the battle name in the screenshot. Sorry about that.

Gary Grigsby's War in the East updated with beta patch 2

Some nice improvements in this beta patch for the mammoth east front wargame released last week.

You can read all the changes on the Matrix boards or take a look below. As should be noted this is a beta patch so use at your own risk!
v1.01 Beta 2 – December 13, 2010

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed mouse button handling which caused left button to be always active. (needed a small fix in engine)

  • Added fix for one more instance of the missing mouse click.

  • Reduced input polling during airstrike missions. AI should be faster, but more chances of black screens.

  • Fixed city bombing.

  • Fixed combat report when bombing the city.

  • Strategy games for the I-Phone

    I don't know of too many that are turn based and feature movable units but while I was surfing the I-Tunes store today for some Revolutionary War material I came across this company

    They make the following games for the I-Phone/I-Pad

    European War

    European War (musket & artillery) is a new style strategy game for iPhone & iPod. It takes you to battleground Europe during the eighteenth century and nineteenth century. In this game many tactics been used in order to defeat the other forces.

    American Revolutionary War

    Musket & Artillery (American Revolutionary War) is a strategic style game . It takes you back to the days of the American Revolutionary War, where you can use military tactics to defeat your enemies (economic mode and war mode are available).

    HD versions of those games are available for the IPAD. I wonder if anyone has had any experience with these?

    They look interesting.

    A wargame blogger returns and DRM drama won't stop him

    Real and Simulated Wars was a blog that got me back into writing AAR's after a 2 year hiatus. He also announced that he was going to close his doors yesterday after a few threads that devolved into what amounted to internet bullying on wargaming sites that used to have a much higher standard of conversation.

    I started a lot of those threads. I started the thread about Tiller releasing Kharkov 43 on at least 3 sites because I was excited. Imagine a few days later when I returned to see how they have devolved into pointless bitching and pandering about having to enter a serial number to activate a game. I posted about the game on this blog as well.

    I wont get into DRM here, it is pointless. I have seen terrible DRM schemes, I have had to suffer with Battlefronts "digital download one year expiration" bullcrap and I have lost discs and rulebooks that required numbers or words to be typed in on certain pages. I use STEAM, I use Impulse. I use them all. If you live your life scared of where a company may be in 20 years you will simply miss a lot of good gaming. Quit being scared of technology and learn to adapt to it. Buying something digitally will involve a serial code sure. In the end we have to have a penalty for all this convenience. However 10 downloads and a now reprised two separate installs is hardly worth taking a blogger and casual forum posters to task over.

    DRM has existed in one way or another over the course of gaming history (Battle of Britain code wheel anyone?) so people just need to get over it. What gets me is that other games have MUCH HARSHER penalties (I don't see myself needing to be on the internet to activate the Tiller game, but Scourge of War requires a live connection and an immediate upload) yet you do not see them getting lambasted on the forums. The mods on the forums do nothing to shut these threads down either when they degrade into pointless name calling and slandering. That is perhaps what disappointed me the most. You don't see this sort of thing going on over at the boardgaming community at Consimworld do you? No. You don't (and yes I know boardgamers don't have DRM to deal with but they have much more gaming focused conversations). Boardgamers do have their own version of political drama and things of the sort but at least it is shoved off into a different area. Threads about DRM should be confined to one post that allows multiple responses and this garbage should not be allowed to spill over into other venues.

    I haven't checked my threads. I don't care about them anymore. The vocal minority and "good ole boy" clubs that now infest the forums are something I will just avoid. I will simply take my questions and posts to game specific fan sites and move on. At any rate KUDOS to you Real and Simulated Wars for hanging in there. We all look forward to more wargaming contributions in the future.

    To the people that took three separate threads from a gamer excited about a new wargame being released and being able to get them digitally (something that the lack of really infuriated me about HPS) and devolved them into a name calling suck fest: to manners class for you all. And to the mods that refuse to clean up the posting dreck on your boards and steer the community toward actual gameplay and game discussion: shame on you.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Kharkov '43: It was indeed Poluboyarov's swan song

    Just finished up scenario #0218_01_Krasnoarmeyskoye - Poluboyarov's Swan Song against the Russian AI. When I first loaded this 10 turn gem up I thought for sure that there was no way I could take three 500 point objectives in 10 turns and win this game. Then I noticed that despite my lack of armor and his large stacks of units my men were all Morale A seasoned troops. The Soviets faced a lack of supplies and a lot of their men were low morale poorly trained soldiers.

    Needless to say by Turn 7 I had surrounded the key objective of Krasnoarmeyskoye and in the next turn Grishino was doomed to fall to the men of Grenadier 681 (left side of the shot, light blue). The scenario had played out just like history and I was looking at a win with 3 turns to spare. I had one unit of armor. 5 Panzer IV's that locked horns with 5 T-34's and barely came out the winner with the help of some artillery and well placed air strikes. Down to two tanks the 5th SS would have to fall back and lick its wounds.

    All in all a fun scenario and another good time with the recently released John Tiller title Kharkov '43 which is available digitally from his site at Click the image below for the larger picture and mini AAR.

    4th Guards Tank Corp commander Poluboyarov implored Vatutin, South Western Front's commander to allow him to retreat from the German forces slowly encircling his corp. In response both Vatutin and Stavka demanded that Poluboyarov 'destroy the retreating German forces' as it was assumed that the Germans were pulling back to the Dnepr River. The Soviet High Command had little understanding of both the conditions and lack of supply reaching the Soviet spearheads. The Germans attacked in earnest on Feb 18th and had essentially taken Krasnoarmeyskoye and shattered the Soviet forces by the 19th.

    Then end result? I got the win by 17 points. Still no easy feat despite taking all but 2 100 point objectives. Casualties put me over the top for a minor victory:

    Despite how bad the VGA awards are they do have some news

    Mass Effect 3 for the holiday season in 2011 and perhaps even bigger Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim all announced at this years energy drink fueled over the top embarrassment Video Game Awards on Spike TV.

    You can read (or rather go into seizures) about the awards on the Spike site here but since I do not console game I could really care less about half of those awards.

    The winner in the category that matters, PC Gaming, went to Starcraft 2. This is an RTS I bought, downloaded, played maybe 4 missions in and then went back to MMO's and wargaming. Sorry I really just don't do RTS games. Give me turned based or die!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Campaign 1776: The battle of Guilford Court House after action report part 1

    Campaign 1776 is one of the earlier titles that John Tiller did in the Early American Wars series that he put together which also now includes 1812, FRENCH & INDIAN WAR, and MEXICAN WAR.

    I had not been able to dive into Campaign 1776 for a while but now I had the time so I loaded it up, patched it and downloaded a few sound and map mods. Off I went and I decided to fight the battle of Guilford Court House (March 15, 1781). I picked this battle mainly because I am from North Carolina and it has always held interest for me. I do not however have the knowledge I should of the commanders and participants. I was going in blind with very little brush up on the rules and trying to do it all by memory. So lets see how it went.

    This AAR will be a different because in order to save space and time on writing up a huge post I plan to just use pictures so that you can get an overall flow of the battle and it saves me time. A little lazy I know but I want to get back in game and finish up the battle. This AAR only goes to turn 9 of 30 and judging by the way I am losing I will need all 30 turns to re secure my lines and defend the courthouse itself as the British advance with their well trained troops.

    To find out more about the battle of Guiford Courthouse check out this wikipedia link:

    Each hex is 125 meters and each turn is about 5 minutes. Click the pictures for full size to read what is going on. More AFTER THE BREAK:

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Blunt Force Gamer podcast episode 2 is now up!

    This week we talk about Cryptic warning people on their message boards for the wrong thing, DRM drama in the wargaming world, Final Fantasy XIV dev team shake up, how NCSOFT is ruining Aion again, new STO patch, gaming sales, and the release of War in the East by Gary Grigsby.

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